The Bottom Line | Page 23

Rural road with dramatic clouds in southern Minnesota at sundown
Rural Minnesota road with dramatic clouds at sundown
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Online School and the Possible Rural Fallout

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, schools are heading online to stay productive.  But rural communities with meager broadband Internet access are stuck in digital wastelands with no clear path out. The Pew Research Center reported that for 2019, 73% of American adults had a home broadband connection. But access is not evenly distributed.  While 79% of suburban and 75% of urban Americans enjoy a broadband connection, only 63% of rural Americans have broadband internet access. According to Pew, rural areas continue to be stuck far behind urban areas in broadband access: Roughly three-quarters (76%) of adults who live in rural communities say they use the internet on at least a daily basis, compared with more Read More ›

Red School House
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Schools Fundamentally Unchanged Since 1918

“All parents should be able to know what their children are learning, and for those paying attention in the coming weeks, the virus offers a chance for them to do just that.” So concludes Jonathan Butcher, senior policy analyst in the Center for Education Policy’s Institute at The Heritage Foundation in his recent essay on social distancing and parents witnessing their children’s education. Butcher’s points about parents’ need to understand what their children are learning and the opportunity afforded by this period of Coronavirus response are well taken. Tough times can spur educational innovation. Now is the time for a complete reassessment regarding how we educate—and the students have to come first. Someone once said, “If Rip Van Winkle had Read More ›

Small Brave Goldfish With Shark Fin Costume Leading Others Through Stormy Seas - Leadership Concept
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Will Education Leadership Adapt?

The Coronavirus has caused great uncertainty and change — especially in schools.  It has also given us an opportunity to pause and think about how we can improve education in America. Ryan Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Qualtrics, wrote in a recent Forbes article, “Data shows that workers are looking to their own employers and managers to lead even more than they are looking to governments and other organizations.” Unfortunately, one of key features of today’s public education system is a lack of effective leadership that can help us navigate these stormy waters. ACTE program chair Don Nielsen explains that we have an ineffective system of training, hiring, and promoting leaders within public education.  The core of the problem is Read More ›

WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY - October 11, 2018: A closeup view of a hotel property on a Monopoly board game, circa 1980s.
WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY - October 11, 2018: A closeup view of a hotel property on a Monopoly board game, circa 1980s.
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Eliminate the Education Monopoly

Laws that mandated the hiring of only certified teachers gave schools of education monopoly control over the supply of human capital entering our public schools. Like any monopoly, over time the business of certifying teachers became bureaucratized, bloated, inefficient, and ineffective. According to Program Chair, Don Nielsen, “Today, there are over 1,400 schools that are licensed to grant teacher certifications and the spectrum of quality between the best and the worst is substantial.” The state of Idaho has recognized the bureaucratized and bloated monopoly and has crafted legislation that would scale back teacher certification requirements. House Bill 599, in essence, will lessen the strangle hold of public education institutions over teacher certifications. The purpose statement of 599 explains that “the Read More ›

Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door
Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door

Equity Concerns for Education Access During COVID-19 Closures

Clearly, closing school doors can bring both positive and negative results.  The obvious positive: closing may slow the peak of the spreading virus.  However, the CDC reports that 19-year-olds and younger appear to have milder COVID-19 illness, with almost no hospitalizations or deaths reported to date in the United States in this age group. However, the fear is that they can still carry and spread the virus. On the flip side, for a large number of children, the best place for them to be is actually in school. Many parents remain working, and some children may lack access to educational materials or even meals at home.  And what is to limit children from contacting others when they’re away from school? Read More ›

Young woman is holding outside and is about to throw an apple core out of the open car window. Bottom view, against the background of blurry trees and sky. Close up
The girl is holding outside and is about to throw an apple core out of the open car window. Bottom view, against the background of blurry trees and sky, summer day. Close up
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Idaho is Right to Abandon the Common Core

Idaho has recognized that Common Core has not improved schools. Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation recently stated, “The days of Common Core in our public schools appear to finally be numbered.” This comes after a joint letter from the House and Senate education committees to the Governor and the two education agencies in the state, in which legislators are urging for new standards. Standards will not improve schools any more than a budget will improve a business. Neither will change how the organization performs. But they can be tools to assess effectiveness. ACTE Program Chair Don Nielsen argues, “Unfortunately, many believe our schools will improve with more rigorous standards and that was one of the drivers Read More ›

Smart student learning using internet and headphones
Black woman smart student girl sitting at table in university cafe alone wearing glasses looking at computer screen using headphones listening online lecture improve language skills having good mood.
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Will Corona Boost Online College Competition?

The global public health crisis hastened by an outbreak of COVID-19 threatens student flows to colleges and universities and other forms of personal collaboration. Just how stark the impact will be will be depends on many unknown variables–among them: how long the outbreak lasts, to what extent it can be contained, and to what degree local and international travel will be restricted. While there is an unfortunate potential for some students to lose out on college experiences, the unique reaction to the disease also raises an intriguing question:  Should families now consider alternatives to the in-person college experience?  Will many choose the cheaper option on an online school? Online learning is poised to be a big winner here.  It is Read More ›

Printed circuit board futuristic server/Circuit board futuristic server code processing. Orange, green, blue technology background with bokeh. 3d rendering
Circuit board futuristic server code processing. Orange, green, blue technology background with bokeh. 3d rendering
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Coronavirus Calls for Technology Surge in Education

With schools closing throughout the entire nation and families resorting to remote or home schooling, the need for technology as a tool in education is being keenly felt.   It is clear our schools were not ready for the virus. Many districts are sending children home without any education until late April at the earliest. If this is to continue and school is canceled for the rest of the year, children across the nation will miss out on months of education. This pause presents an opportunity to think about how we educate our youth. Specifically, we have not yet seen the technology breakthrough in education that has occurred almost everywhere else in our society. The time is ripe for that Read More ›

Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
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Our Way of Life is Worth Preserving

Tradition is under attack in America’s educational system. Dissolving the connections with our history will break society. Edmund Burke argues in Reflections on the Revolution in France that “Men… [are] becom[ing] little better than the flies of a summer,” each generation vanishing and giving nothing but the simple fact of their life on to the next. There are unfortunate, but not surprising, similarities between the French Revolution and the current battleground of education in the United States. Much like the French civilization in the 18th century, we have become deluded with a belief that the only way to change is to abolish what we have come to know. Burke’s commentary is equally fitting for our time as his, when he Read More ›

Scissors cutting a dollar bill in half
Money being cut showing cutbacks or wasteful spending

Budget Cuts Will Lead to Educational Regression

I was not that shocked when I read the news that Washington State’s elected leaders in both the Senate and the House are attempting to cut funding to charter schools. It’s par for the course with many of our state leaders, who have an open hostility to these schools whose success is based on their ability to escape excessive state control. What is more surprising is that the Democrat-run House and Senate are willing to stir up a storm in poor communities. In most cases, charter schools are created in neighborhoods where the schools are failing or under-performing. In Washington, by 2020 we will have 14 active public charter schools that serve nearly 4,000 students. Liv Finne, Director of Center Read More ›